Runshaw College armed gang members who 'drove through' crowds of students and knifed boy in arm are locked up

Six thugs who launched a terrifying armed attack at Runshaw College, in which a student was wounded with a machete, have been sentenced by Lancashire's most senior judge.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:03 am

Shehroz Ahmad, 19, of Primrose Grove; Adam Khan, 19, of Albert Terrace, Murad Sadique Mohammed, 19, of Leo Case Court, Samadur Rahman, 20, of Curwen Street, Dilbagh Singh, 18, of Brackenbury Road and Gurmail Singh, 19, also of Brackenbury Road - all Preston - descended on the busy sixth form college in three cars, armed with a machete, hammer, baseball bat, crowbar, samurai sword and knuckle duster.

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Three of the defendants were only youths when the fracas broke out at around 4pm on March 4, 2019, and some were former students.

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Phone footage was widely shared on social media

All admitted a charge of affray.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham, branded it a "piece of public, dangerous violence" and proper and appropriate punishment could only be achieved by immediate custodial sentence in a young offenders institution.

Gurmail Singh received 21 months in total, with a 28 month road ban for dangerous driving, while Rahman and Khan must serve 18 months.

Mohammed and Dilbag SIngh got 15 months and Ahmad got 14 months.

Crown Court

Judge Altham said: "Following some perceived dispute between one or some of the defendants and some other young people these defendants all met in Preston in three cars and travelled from Deepdale to Runshaw College.

"They arrived at the college at a time when the streets around it were busy as students were going home, and the students outside saw the three cars disgorge members of a gang.

"At least one of those wore a balaclava."

The court heard one student had a hammer swung at his head and a machete was brought down on his arm, causing a 2cm wound.

Rahman, who had the machete, became involved in a standoff with another student.

He discarded his balaclava and tried to evade police by mingling with students on a bus service.

Three defendants in a parked car were arrested nearby.

Another was arrested in a car on the M55 and the sixth in Preston.

Judge Altham said statements from five students described a " truly terrifying scene where three cars are driven through groups of pedestrians causing them to scatter into gardens for safety" and "terrified and unarmed students" saw them with all the weapons in plain sight.

He said: " In summary this was a planned attack on educational premises when the defendants knew there would be a large number of students on foot in the vicinity.

"There were a large number of dangerous weapons, indeed lethal weapons.

"This was a terribly serious incident. The impact upon the college, quite apart from that on the individuals who witnessed the violence that day, has been very considerable.

"Through no fault of it's own the college faced reputational harm and large financial pressures to meet this.

"In the short term students didn't feel safe and in the days that followed some didn't even attend.

"Some staff and students felt considerable upset and anxiety and it's plain considerable time and effort were diverted away from the main task, which is educating young people at the college."

The court was told one defendant had threatened a member of staff that five people would "come to the college and slash people"

Clare Russell, Principal at Runshaw College, said: "Runshaw College has a very strong reputation for being a safe, peaceful and highly respectful place to study and we have a zero tolerance approach to violence or harassment of any kind.

"We are therefore pleased to hear that a number of people have been sentenced in connection with the incident that took place near to our Leyland Campus on the 4th March 2019."

It had been alleged by one defence lawyer that one of the defendants had experienced a number of racist incidents while studying there, that at the time there were a "minority of Asian students, and that he had ended up leaving.

The college said: "The college commissioned a visit from Lancashire Police’s Community Cohesion Team on 28th March 2019.

"During their half-day visit, two officers spent a full day wandering around the college, talking to a large number of students and staff.

"They concluded that students and staff feel very safe at Runshaw College, and that different groups of students get on very well with each other.”

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